Portal:Cetaceans

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A Sperm Whale fluke
The order Cetacea includes the whales, dolphins and porpoises and comprise the mammals most fully adapted to aquatic life. It contains 81 known species organized in two suborders: Mysticeti (baleen whales) and Odontoceti (toothed whales, which includes dolphins and porpoises). The order contains several record breaking species, with the Blue Whale being the largest animal known, and the Orca being the most widely distributed animal.

Cetaceans evolved from land mammals that adapted to marine life about 50 million years ago. Over a period of a few millions of years during the Eocene, the cetaceans returned to the sea. Their body is fusiform (spindle-shaped), the forelimbs are modified into flippers, the tiny hindlimbs are vestigial and the tail has horizontal flukes. Cetaceans are nearly hairless, and are insulated by a thick layer of blubber.

Cetaceans inhabit all of the world's oceans, as well as some rivers in South America and Asia. Some species can be found across the globe.

Cetology is the branch of marine science associated with the study of cetaceans.

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An adult Blue Whale in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
The Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is a marine mammal belonging to the suborder of baleen whales. At up to 33 metres (110 ft) in length and 181 metric tonnes (200 short tons) or more in weight, it is believed to be the largest animal to have ever lived, though some fragmentary dinosaur discoveries such as the colossal Amphicoelias fragillimus may challenge this long-held belief.

Long and slender, the Blue Whale's body can be various shades of bluish-gray. There are at least three distinct subspecies: B. m. musculus of the north Atlantic and north Pacific, B. m. intermedia, of the Southern Ocean and B. m. brevicauda (also known as the Pygmy Blue Whale) found in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean. B. m. indica found in the Indian Ocean, may be another subspecies. As with other baleen whales, its diet consists mainly of small crustaceans known as krill, as well as small fish and squid.

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2014[edit]

January[edit]

The clymene dolphin (Stenella clymene) became the first confirmed naturally occurring hybrid marine mammal species when DNA analysis showed it to be descended from the spinner dolphin and the striped dolphin. [1]

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  • 10 February - Filipino fishermen have rescued around 200 melon-headed whales which were stranded in shallow waters off the coast of Bataan. Only three dolphins were reported to have died. more

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A Bottlenose Dolphin Breaching the water
  • ...dolphins often leap clear of the water when travelling at speed. This is because the density of water is much greater than that of air and they are able to travel faster by leaping out of the water.
  • ...whale and dolphin mothers ‘suckle’ their young underwater! Mothers have muscular mammary glands and ‘squirt’ their milk into the calf’s mouth, to ensure that the calf takes in as much of the energy rich milk as possible.
  • ...on average, a whale or dolphin will eat four to five percent of its body weight in food per day. That means that a 100 ton blue whale will eat almost five tons of krill per day, or that a 200kg bottlenose dolphin will eat 10kg of fish per day!
  • ...newborn cetacean calves ‘suckle’ three to four times each hour and will suckle from their mothers for six months or more.
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Humpback Whales often breach the waters surface.
Photo credit: Cornelia Oedekoven

Many whales are known to breach the waters surface. The act of leaping generates more power than any other act performed by a non-human animal.

Some whales, such as Sperm Whales, perform a breach by travelling vertically upwards from depth, and heading straight out of the water. Others, such as the Humpback Whale (pictured), travel close to the surface and parallel to it, and then jerk upwards at full speed to perform a breach. In a typical breach, as performed by a Humpback or Right Whale, the whale clears the water at an angle of about 30° to the horizontal.

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Whale species

Andrews' Beaked WhaleBalaenoptera omuraiBelugaBlainville's Beaked WhaleBlue Whale Cscr-featured.svgBottlenose WhaleBowhead WhaleBryde's WhaleCuvier's Beaked WhaleDwarf Sperm WhaleFin Whale Cscr-featured.svgGervais' Beaked WhaleGiant beaked whaleGinkgo-toothed Beaked WhaleGray WhaleGray's Beaked WhaleHector's Beaked WhaleHubbs' Beaked WhaleHumpback Whale Cscr-featured.svgLayard's Beaked WhaleLongman's Beaked WhaleMelon-headed WhaleMinke WhaleNarwhalPerrin's Beaked WhalePygmy Beaked WhalePygmy Killer WhalePygmy Right WhalePygmy Sperm WhaleRight Whale Cscr-featured.svgSei Whale Cscr-featured.svgShepherd's Beaked WhaleSowerby's Beaked WhaleSpade Toothed WhaleSperm Whale Symbol support vote.svgStejneger's Beaked WhaleTrue's Beaked Whale

Dolphin species

Atlantic Spotted DolphinAtlantic White-sided DolphinAustralian Snubfin DolphinBaijiBotoChilean DolphinClymene DolphinCommerson's DolphinCommon Bottlenose DolphinDusky Dolphin Symbol support vote.svgFalse Killer WhaleFraser's DolphinGanges and Indus River DolphinHeaviside's DolphinHector's DolphinHourglass DolphinHumpback dolphinIndo-Pacific Bottlenose DolphinIrrawaddy DolphinKiller Whale Cscr-featured.svgLa Plata DolphinLong-beaked Common DolphinLong-finned pilot whalePacific White-sided DolphinPantropical Spotted DolphinPeale's DolphinPygmy Killer WhaleRight whale dolphinRisso's DolphinRough-toothed DolphinShort-beaked Common DolphinShort-finned pilot whaleSpinner DolphinStriped DolphinTucuxiWhite-beaked Dolphin

Porpoise species

Burmeister's PorpoiseDall's PorpoiseFinless PorpoiseHarbour PorpoiseSpectacled PorpoiseVaquita

Other articles

Aboriginal whalingAmbergrisAnimal echolocationArchaeocetiBaleenBaleen whaleBeached whaleBeaked WhaleBlowhole (biology)BlubberBottlenose dolphin Symbol support vote.svgCallosityCephalorhynchusCetaceaCetacean intelligenceCetologyCetology of Moby-DickCommon dolphinCumberland Sound BelugaDolphinDolphinarium Symbol support vote.svgDolphin drive hunting Symbol support vote.svgEvolution of cetaceansExploding whaleHarpoonHistory of whalingInstitute of Cetacean ResearchInternational Whaling CommissionLagenorhynchusMelon (whale)Mesoplodont WhaleMilitary dolphinMoby-DickMocha DickMonodontidaeOceanic dolphinOrcaellaPilot Whale Symbol support vote.svgPorpoiseRiver dolphinRiver Thames WhaleRorqualsSperm whale familySperm whalingSpermacetiStenellaTay WhaleThe Marine Mammal CenterToothed WhaleU.S. Navy Marine Mammal ProgramWhaleWhalingWhale and Dolphin Conservation SocietyWhale surfacing behaviourWhale oilWhale louseWhale songWhale watchingWolphin

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  1. ^ http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/01/140111-hybrid-dolphin-species-ocean-animal-science/